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We were here mid March on a rainy windy day. It felt too eerie visibility barely enough to see the next 10 ft probably. The windy road, fog, wind and rain made it feel like being in one of Stephen King's novel.
But, the next day the sun came out and all was well. The visitor center is rich with information about this area, do step in and take a tour. Also enjoyed all the desserts at the Lodge's restaurant, made it worth hiking all the trails. Lot of little creeks and scenic views everywhere.
Cell service (Verizon and ATT) was spotty in the trails but couple of bars in the campsite area. Free wifi at the Lodge lobby if you absolutely need to be connected.
We love Lake Fort Smith State Park. Lots of places to hike and explore, beautiful lake, and very nice camp sites. Peaceful!! One of our most favorite places to camp. Well maintained, clean, nice bathhouse and friendly staff. We go whenever we can!
Several RV people running generators all night long. Lots of trash, not the best maintained. In theory $10/night but not worth paying for and very few campers did it appears. Has a prison style shower, blistering harsh spray but ice cold. Bathrooms were pretty dirty.
My crew of 4 spent two nights there. It was a tad windy, but the bathrooms were nice and spacious, the layout of the entire site was nice although the map made it a tad difficult to find our site. They were out of passport stickers, but if that is the worst that happens in a weekend, we are golden. I will return to this campground.
Great park with beautiful trails, caves, a plethora of wildlife, and lots of CCC history. This park offers everything from primitive, hike-in camping to cabins and everything in between (including a full hook-up area). Park also has a pool. Remember, if pulling a camper, take exit 53, do NOT go through Winslow. The road is beautiful but VERY curvy and steep. Lots to do and see. A must.
Very nice park! Did not expect it to be so picturesque! Very well kept. Campground AAA sites (1-20) offer full hook-ups and are spread out for privacy and offer longer pads. Site 4 is my favorite. Camp B sites are quite short but perfect for tent camping. The visitor's center is EXTREMELY nice and a must. There is a pool at the park as well. Lake Fort Smith also has cabins which offer a lake view. Group lodging is available. Marina rents canoes, party barges, fishing boats, kayaks, etc. The entire place is beautiful and a great place for family outdoor activities.
We only had three days and it rained all day for the first day but I still really enjoyed this park. The trails are great and our campsite had a path right down to the river. The water hookup was a bit tricky, it leaks all over the place until you turn it all the way. We were not used to this setup so we thought it was broken. We were on site 53. I don’t like the placement of the fire pits, they are off at the road side of the site which makes it feel too close to other campers, rather than tucked into your own site. The bathrooms are probably the nicest I’ve experienced at a state park.
General: Located in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas, you can enjoy time off the grid (we had limited cell service when we were at the summit of the Yellow Rock Trail but none in the campground). Limited rainfall resulted in less dramatic (or non-existent) waterfalls that are otherwise boasted of during other times of the year but the scenery was still beautiful, especially in the fall.
Sites/Facilities: Many different camping options (some loops have full hookups while others do not have hookups and there is a dump station near Loop E), a hike-in campground, a group campground, and an equestrian campground. There are also 17 rustic cabins (1-3 bedrooms with kitchens and a/c and heating plus nearby bathrooms). We camped in Loop E and there was reasonable separation between the sites. The pads were paved. Each site had a metal picnic table, lantern hook, and fire grate. Many of the sites provided shade from the many trees.
Bathhouse: Like some other Arkansas state parks, there are two bathhouses in some loops, and they were open on alternating days so that the other one may be cleaned and sanitized (Covid related policy). While the open one in Loop E was clean, the several soap dispensers were empty which does not make sense to me when hand washing is recommended. You also need to bring your own towel, which I have been doing regardless. There are showers but I did not use them so I cannot comment on how good they are.
Activities/Amenities: Hiking! I highly recommend the Yellow Rock Trail and the Devils Den Trail plus there are several others. During the summer, you can rent paddle boats and canoes. There are several areas with picnic tables throughout the park. There is also a swimming pool, although I did not see it when we were there in October(it would only be open in the summer). Firewood is available for sale.
We stayed here for just one night in Shady Grove area on the top of the hill. Sites were tight and we were clearly placed in a bigger pull through site that was split in two sites. We arrived later in the evening and people in other half of site had already taken over forcing us the back into site pad up a steep incline in the dark under a tree. We made it, but not easy. For distanced dispersed camping, look elsewhere.